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Floods: Debris, Drinking Water, and Other Environmental Concerns

Steps and resources for ensuring safe drinking water and managing debris in the aftermath of a flood. Resources on damage at wastewater treatment plants and debris for local authorities.

If you have questions, contact the TCEQ regional office that serves your county. Also, be sure to check with local authorities for their guidance.

Download this Flyer: TCEQ Flood Response: Resources for You in the Aftermath of a Flood (GI-605)

Drinking Water

Before a flood, be sure your public drinking water system is ready.

After a flood, determine if your water is safe to drink:

  • Checklist for operators of public water systems
  • Advice for customers of public water systems
  • Advice for disinfecting your own well


Follow these guidelines to dispose of flood wastes properly:

Think Recycling First!

Much of the metal, brick, and other debris left in a flood's wake might be recyclable.

Before you haul anything to a recycling center, call to find out:

  • What materials they will accept
  • Whether they will accept materials damaged by water
  • Whether they charge a fee for recycling (This depends on the material and its condition. If the material is valuable enough, they might pay you for it.)

See the TCEQ’s webpage about recycling options.

Managing Your Debris

Cleaning Up Debris

Remember some of the debris could be recyclable. Follow these guidelines to separate debris according to type and dispose of it properly:

Find an Appropriate Landfill below.

Outdoor Burning in Texas

The TCEQ offers this publication (RG-049) to help you interpret the Outdoor Burning Rule (30 TAC 111.201-221).

Find an Appropriate Landfill

Active municipal solid waste landfills  (GI-611) — Many wastes can and should be taken to the landfill

Municipal Solid Waste Facilities Viewer — Locate MSW facilities on a map.